Not Again…

At least once per week we have an athlete come in who is struggling from the effects of a practice, training session, or lifting session that they have done elsewhere and under another coach’s guidance. We have athletes from more than 20 high schools, nearly a dozen colleges, and several middle schools, many of whom are currently playing or in pre-season preparation for their sport. We have a few high school baseball players who also play football. This almost always means that we have to deal with the football lifting program at their high school, and its impact on how our athletes are able to move and perform.

In the typical 2 hour blocks while baseball athletes are at our facility, they will work on the skill of throwing a baseball and then go through a full-body lift before leaving. Our lifting sessions have the sole intention of improving the skill (in this case throwing a baseball) while possibly improving velocity and reducing risk to the athlete. This might mean general strength training or it could mean special exercises for our more advanced athletes. If our pitching staff sees something that may need some work, they bring it to our attention and we work to find an exercise, movement, cue, etc. that helps resolve that issue. Sometimes, there’s a bigger problem.

One of our athletes came in this week on Wednesday to throw a little, have his workout, and prepare for pitching in a travel ball game on Friday. This young man happens to live more than an hour from our facility and as such is only able to make it once per week. He also happens to play football at his high school. I noticed that he wasn’t throwing and was just kinda hanging out; almost looking for something to do. I asked him how he was doing and he told me that his pecs were too sore for him to throw.

Me – “Why are your pecs so sore?”

T – “We had lifting for football on Monday and our coach had us bench. Sets of 10, 8, 8, 6, 4. I’m so sore that it hurts to try to throw, so I don’t know what to do. I’m scheduled to pitch on Friday.”

Me – After an internal scream… “Man, that sucks, but let’s see if we can’t get you feeling better.”

We guided him through some soft tissue work and some mobility for his shoulder and had him alter his training session some to help alleviate the tissue damage that had been inflicted on him at the football lift in hopes that he would be good to go in less than 48 hours. It was essentially lots of movement to promote blood flow and healing. I gave him some nutritional tips and told him to take a contrast shower before bed – alternating hot and cold water for several minutes each – and to let me know how he felt the next day.

Thursday he sent me this, “Cold water treatment last night was great, this morning woke up feeling great.”

Now, I’m happy that the work we did and the advice we gave him worked, (at least 18 hours later) but I’m frustrated with the position we are continually forced in to by coaches who don’t quite have a grasp of what the hell they’re doing. Given that there were no spring sports, no spring practices, no spring lifting sessions, etc. due to Covid-19, coaches should be a little more aware that athletes are not going to be physically prepared for everything they want them to do. By having the team lift in this fashion, the coach essentially overdosed the kids on volume with no regard for the consequences. Sad thing is, the coach knows this particular athlete is playing summer ball and knows he’s a pitcher.

However, we have to think of the consequences. Every exercise we choose, every lifting session we coordinate, we have a ‘WHY’. Why this exercise? Why this rep scheme? Why this tempo? Why sprint this distance? Once we were able to resume training June 1st, we implemented a different training program that we had never used before. Why? Because athletes needed a training plan that considered the fact that they didn’t play any club soccer, high school baseball, or high school softball, most didn’t have a place to lift, and a plan that would allow them to focus on the development of skills needed to practice and play their sport. If we crippled them with exhausting lifting so they couldn’t sit down, run, or wash their hair without pain, how have we helped them?

I’m not naive to think that this particular coach or any other coach is going to change their methods because of this post. It’s an ‘old school mentality’ that is perpetuated by the simple fact that the human body is incredibly resilient to all the dumb things we do to it. Yes the body can adapt, but it takes time. I wonder if I took his star running back from the football team and ran him in to the ground with a training session a couple days before the big game if the coach would then understand his transgressions?

The moral of the story is that as coaches, we have a duty to do what’s in the best interest of the athlete. Both in the short term and the long term. If we do that, then we also accomplish the task of doing what’s in the best interest of the team. Athletes will do damn near anything we ask of them, and we have to respect their willingness to please but also respect the near blind trust they have in us to do what’s in their best interest.

Resilient Runner Winter Clinic 2017

Are you looking to improve your running economy while reducing your risk of injury? Have you been dealing with one injury after another, always looking for an answer? Do you know where to start? The Resilient Runners Winter Clinic will show you the path.

  • Reduce your risk of injury
  • Improve running efficiency
  • Develop new joint mobility
  • Run faster with less effort
  • Learn warm-ups and proper ways to apply plyometrics
  • Hands – On / Interactive

I’ve helped hundreds of athletes move better, get stronger, and run faster, while reducing their injury rates by incorporating smart training programs. This two-day clinic will help you get on the path to better running efficiency and help you avoid the pains that repeatedly sideline you.

What will be covered?

Day 1 – 90 min

  • Understanding principles
  • Soft Tissue Treatment
  • Mobility

Day 2 – 90 min

  • Mobility Continued
  • Motor Control
  • Including Plyometrics in your Training

Saturday Dec. 16 7:30AM – 9:00AM

Sunday Dec. 17 10:30AM – Noon

The two day course costs only $79 per person but is limited to 30 people. Reserve your spot today and don’t miss out on this opportunity.





Bluegrass Soccer Club Girls 99 & 01

Moving to Next Level last fall brought me the opportunity to work with dozens of high school and college athletes. With the spring club soccer season right around the corner, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about a few of the teams I’ve had the pleasure of training in the off/pre-season. The BSC 99 and 01 Girls were the first two teams to come to the “dark side” for training with me.

I spoke with their director prior to getting started and developed a plan. But from the screening, I knew that we had some things to work on to prepare them for battle during the season and that my plan would need some modification. Many of them had developed bad habits and lacked the total body strength, body awareness, and neuromuscular control necessary for a sport like soccer. The first four weeks of training must have seemed like physical therapy to them(some of the girls suffered soft tissue injuries over the previous year) and might have been a little boring compared to what they were accustomed to, to be honest. Hearing me say “make a double chin” or “vertical shin” probably drove them crazy, but they learned that laying a solid foundation is critical to their long-term athletic development.

The past six weeks were spent on developing a strength base and improving their conditioning. These girls stuck with the program and gained some much needed muscle and neuromuscular and core control. They are a lot stronger than when they started and by continuing their training during the season, they’re making a long-term commitment to improve and stay healthy.

Needless to say I’m really proud of these girls and they should be proud of themselves!




This post has little if anything to do with training but volumes about life, generosity, kindness, and humanity. I just witnessed two of the most amazing and beautiful things I’ve seen in a long, long time. I’m going to set the scene so please stick with me and read on. (I didn’t do particularly well at grammar 100 years ago, so if I use too many commas, I’m sorry.)

I screened three teams of high school soccer players last night and collected a ton of data on them. This morning as I’m sitting at Magee’s Bakery having breakfast and a cup of coffee sorting through all the data and preparing to send emails, an apparently homeless middle-aged black man (I’ll call him Jerry) walked in to the bakery and took the closest seat to the door. It’s December 17th in Lexington, Kentucky and the unseasonably warm 60 degree weather that prevailed earlier this week has been replaced with a windy chill and temps hovering around 40. His old, slightly dirty, and tattered clothing are doing their best to keep him warm. Oddly, it looks like he’s carrying a small women’s purse which appears to have very few contents. As he takes in the upper-middle class scene (myself excluded) I can sense his trepidation to approach anyone. His once nice boots are untied and the heel of his right boot is no longer connected to the rest of the boot. His back is to me yet as he turns, our eyes meet briefly and I gave a quick smile before I return to my mountain of work.

Magee’s Bakery

I was waiting for Jerry to come ask me for money which I’m always hesitant to do. I would have gladly bought  him breakfast and cup of coffee, but he was obviously nervous to walk over and ask for a handout. And I was nervous to offer him anything and risk offending him. This time of morning Magee’s is bustling with people coming and going hurriedly on their way to work or to take the kids to school. He quietly asked a few people for something and they declined and walked out the door quickly. By this point, I’ve become almost obsessed with observing this gentleman and his interaction with other customers as if I’m watching it unfold on TV. Then, an attractive 30-something white woman wearing lululemon pants and a nice jacket walks toward the door and he asks her for some money, she says she doesn’t have any cash and carries her things out to her car. Moments later, she returns and walks to Jerry and offers him a cup of coffee or breakfast. He takes her up on the coffee, but didn’t want to pour it himself. Why, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the stigma of a homeless person walking to pour a cup of coffee without previously paying for it?

She then said, “Come on, let’s make it together.” (My mouth is agape at this point.) She was clearly in a hurry but took time to help this man and actually invited him to join her to make him feel more comfortable in a place where by appearances, he stands out. From across the restaurant, I watched him show her which coffee he wanted, she poured it and Jerry slowly walked back toward his seat. She then stood in the line which was at least 5 minutes long. (Remember, this woman already bought her food and took it to her car!) While she’s in line, he asked several other customers for money almost all of whom declined. One guy left and came back with a brand new pair of gloves and handed them to Jerry. With the cold weather that’s on the way for central Kentucky this weekend, Jerry could use the gloves as much as anything else. After paying, she walked back to Jerry’s table, handed him his hot coffee and a $10 gift card and with a smile and pat on the shoulder wished him a Merry Christmas. I gave her a kind smile as she walked out almost to say, “Thanks for being human.”

I’m still sitting her typing this post and watching Jerry ask people for a handout. Someone else brought him another pair of gloves, and a woman (who seemed to be a regular here) brought him a doughnut and a smile. I don’t know if it’s the time of year or just plain awesomeness but being witness to these few acts of kindness have almost brought tears to my eyes. You’re probably asking yourself, “why the hell didn’t you offer him something?” And to be honest, I’m not sure. Timing, atmosphere, not wanting to offend him, I don’t have cash on me…

I’m not making excuses for myself, in fact this reminds me that deep down, I think we all want to help people. It’s human. I’d like to help every person who needs it. But we can’t really do that. I may not have directly made Jerry’s day better, but I hope by being a quiet observer to this amazing scene, and describing it to you I’ve been able to help many other “Jerry’s”.

Jerry’s vacant seat with empty bag and coffee cup

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, etc. Let’s do our best to make the world 10% happier.


Training Sept 27th

Clients ask me all the time, “What workouts do you do?” I think that people think trainers perform outrageous training sessions themselves. And while we should be able to show AND go,  my personal training sessions are usually simple, involving the main movement patterns. To help breakdown the mystique, I’m going to share my training sessions here so anyone who’s interested can see how I train.

A) 1/2 kneeling 1 arm over head DB press (3 warm up sets)
5/3/7 ascending load
B) Vertical Pull 3×10
C) KB goblet squat 3×12
D) 1 arm DB row 3×10
E) kneeling Swiss ball rollout 3×8

So, I did 15 reps in a vertical press, 30 reps in a vertical pull, 36 reps in a squat pattern, 30 reps in horizontal pull, and 24 reps in anti-extension. Generally I try to do at least twice as much pulling as pushing for the upper body. Nothing flashy, just basic, fundamental exercises. I will continue to add my training logs and if you have questions, please post them and I’ll answer them.

Train smart. Train hard.

Update on Tina’s result in London

Tina finished the London Marathon yesterday in 2:41:19, which sets a new personal best by 4 minutes! Additionally her second half was faster than her first half indicating she still had some left in the tank when she crossed the finish line. I spoke with her from London yesterday and she said she felt remarkably good (considering) and said she could have run harder.
As part of her coaching team, I’m thrilled for her with this result and looking forward to our next race.
If you’re a runner, chances are you need to fill in your training gaps with some serious strength and conditioning. Contact me and schedule an assessment to take your running and fitness to new heights.

Training and my first marathon(er)

**FYI – This post has been marinating for several months and I’ve struggled with what I want to say with it.**

Training and my first marathon(er)

Now that spring is here (near record rainfall here in Lexington this month), people are taking to the streets and sidewalks in effort to lose weight, get in shape, improve their running speed, etc. As I watch many of these runners trot around, I’m not convinced that they should be logging the kind of miles they are. One of the first forms of exercise we learn is running. Running is a basic human movement which we learn to do at a young age and it’s (relatively) easy to do. Lace up your shoes and take off for a run. No treadmill? No problem. Just walk out your front door.
Due to its low cost of entry (shoes), unlimited availability (you can run just about anywhere), and intrinsic nature (we learn to run as kids), just about anyone can go for a run. I’ve worked with countless recreational runners over my career and I was even a recreational runner for a while too. I usually tell the recreational runner that distance running is not a great idea for them – as THEY’RE NOT BUILT FOR IT AND THEY’RE NOT PHYSICALLY PREPARED FOR DISTANCE RUNNING! (Several months ago I began training an elite distance runner and it has given me a new appreciation and understanding for running. More on that later.) For example, people who work seated at a desk for long periods of time acquire certain positional or postural alignments that can have deleterious effects on how they move especially when they run. This seated position is often accompanied by computer-based work which results in anterior head carriage (AHC) and slouched shoulders. But I’m going to focus on how the hips, pelvis, and lumbar spine are affected by long-term sitting and why running without treating this fauly posture may not be the best idea.


While sitting, the hip flexors shorten and stiffen exerting a downward pull on the front of the pelvis and upward pull on the knees which can contribute to low back and knee pain. Additionally, if the pelvis is pulled down in the front, the hamstrings exert a protective pull on the posterior of the pelvis to prevent it from falling too far in to anterior tilt. (This is why people with this type of low back pain tend to have “tight” hamstrings.) Stretching the hamstrings feels good and can relieve symptoms temporarily, but that stiffness will return in about 24 hours. I could go on for days about the muscles, force couples, neuromuscular control and myriad other factors that come in to play, but I won’t today.
So let’s get to the specifics of running and why it may not be a good idea for you. Typically the mechanics of recreational runners over-emphasize the hip flexors and de-emphasize the glutes and anterior core. This is essentially what happens when we sit for long periods of time. Therefore it makes sense that if we already have short, stiff, hypertonic hip flexors we shouldn’t perform exercise that’s going to make it worse, right? I see lots of people with this scenario who come in with a weak anterior core and inhibited glutes and suffering with low back and knee pain. So while running, we (recreational runners) tend to stride out with our hip flexors (without achieving much actual hip flexion) and pull through with the hamstrings. The hamstrings are constantly “on” to help control anterior pelvic tilt and now they’re being asked to perform the majority of hip extension, which is not a good approach. The more simple way to look at this is that the anterior core and obliques work together with the hamstrings and glutes to keep the pelvis from falling forward from the pull of the hip flexors, adductors, and spinal erectors (low back muscles). When these muscles exert the appropriate force, the resulting movement is a thing of beauty. If one group exerts too much force without balance from the opposing muscles, things get ugly.


As I mentioned, I recently began training an elite female distance runner named Tina. I had no frame of reference to what “elite” meant when pertaining to distance running. Additionally, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to help her. Sort of. I knew what I would do with a recreational runner, but this is a woman who has sponsors, an awesome running coach (you’re welcome Steve), and a half-marathon time more than an hour faster than my half marathon time. Yes, that’s correct – an hour. While getting her history, I found out that she previously suffered a strained left hamstring and actually ran the Chicago Marathon with said strained hamstring. I watched and recorded her running on a treadmill at our gym, and to be honest she moves so fast, I had to put it in slow motion before I could really see anything “wrong”. Granted I’m not skilled in running gait analysis. YET…

Before we got in to her training Tina traveled to the University of Virginia’s Speed Clinic to have an analysis done in hopes of pinning down what was causing her dysfunction leading to her injury. When she returned, she was excited and revitalized with the results. The 3-D video – with kinematic analysis of her pelvis, hips, and legs, and more graphs than high school algebra – all pointed out that her glutes weren’t doing enough work and she was striding out too far. (Somewhat similar to a recreational runner)

The Training

Her training started similarly to other runners who simply need to move better. We focused our training on getting some length to her adductors (she has anteverted hips) and hip flexors while strengthening her glutes, improving her anterior core and neuromuscular control. Additionally Tina reduced her stride length significantly which reduced the amount of “braking” in her stride and increased the amount of propulsion she can generate. Her stride looks much more smooth and she suffers significantly less jarring on her frame which is critical over the course of a 10, 13.1, or 26.2 mile run.

Often times we assume that because someone’s desired or daily activity requires a certain quality (in this case running in a straight line for long distances) that we should train them similarly – so high rep, low weights circuit training. However, Tina’s cardiovascular fitness and Type I muscle fibers were getting plenty of training from her running. Instead, I used low rep, heavy resistance training to “fill in the gaps”. Additionally, I included exercises that demanded frontal plane control while working in the sagittal plane. In other words, performing a reverse lunge while I used a band to pull her front knee in, thus making her glute work more to keep the femur in proper position. Finally, due to her excessive thoracic rotation to the left and a subsequent across-the-body reach as she strides, I added rotary stability exercises to reduce the amount of energy Tina wasted with each stride.

In the 17 weeks since we started training, I’m amazed at Tina’s progress and her determination. Tomorrow is the London Marathon, and Tina is there with her family and friends ready to put all her hard work to the test. I’d be crazy to think that in 17 weeks, we could correct everything she has acquired running thousands of miles over her lifetime. However, I do believe that Tina is in better overall condition for this race than any previous race and I’m excited for this step in her journey toward continued greatness.


If you learned nothing else…

So what does all this mean? It means that running can be an effective and enjoyable form of exercise. It also means that if your body isn’t ready for distance running, there may be better options for you initially. Even the pros have coaches and it is much better to start with good movement and build a foundation for running (or whatever) than to start with poor movement and add more bad movement on top of a bad foundation. If you would like to run, do like to run, or want to run faster, hire a trainer or coach and ask for help. It’s amazing how a new perspective from a professional can help. I’ll continue to post updates on Tina’s progress and you can follow her blog here which has lots of nutrition, running, and lifestyle content. Once she returns from London and recovers, Tina and I hope to start a training program specifically for runners who want to improve, but may not have an idea of the next steps to take. IMG958711